10 False Nutrition Facts Everyone Knows


Food Cravings Mean You Lack Specific Nutrients

If food cravings really mean you're lacking certain vitamins or minerals, how come you always crave a piece of cake but not an apple? OcusFocus/iStock/Thinkstock
If food cravings really mean you're lacking certain vitamins or minerals, how come you always crave a piece of cake but not an apple? OcusFocus/iStock/Thinkstock

Can't get enough chocolate? Is cheese your kryptonite? Unable to resist red meat? Then your body must be craving specific nutrients found in these foods.

Unfortunately, this is a longstanding food myth. The idea that your body, at an elemental level, is sending signals to your brain forcing you to drink a glass of orange juice or dive into a slice of cheesecake is simply off the mark.

Food cravings, at least for humans, tend to revolve around emotional needs rather than physical ones. In fact, if a food is forbidden (remember that slice of cheesecake?), you'll probably want it all the more. There is one notable exception: If you are nutritionally deficient in iron, you'll have cravings -- but not for iron-rich steak or liver, as you might imagine. Instead, you might chew on significant amounts of ice cubes, a condition known as pagophagia. It's a variant of pica, a disorder in which people eat things -- clay, paper, chalk -- that aren't actually food [source: O'Connor, Weil].

Author's Note: 10 False Nutrition Facts Everyone Knows

I've eaten my share of fat-free cookies washed down with skim milk. And then I decided I'd rather splurge on small amounts of full-fat foods that taste good (where's some umami when you need it?). Good news? This strategy turned out to be just as effective, maybe more so, than trying to replace the foods I liked with low-fat alternatives.

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6 Fruits Loaded With Sugar

6 Fruits Loaded With Sugar

HowStuffWorks takes a look at some fruits that have a lot of sugar, including mangoes and pineapples.